TAIPEI: Taiwan reported 286 new domestic COVID-19 cases on Thursday (May 20), a slight increase from the previous day.
Having been held up as an example of how to successfully stop the virus in its tracks, Taiwan has over the past two weeks reported a spiralling number of infections in the community, with 1,572 cases.
There was also one new death, an elderly woman who lived on her own and had underlying health conditions, bringing the death total toll since the pandemic began to 15.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said that the percentage of confirmed cases was falling among people being tested in the capital, Taipei, and neighbouring New Taipei City, where the worst of the outbreak has been concentrated.
“At present, it seems like the trend is not deteriorating sharply,” he told a news briefing.
The latest daily tally was up from the 267 infections reported on Wednesday, when authorities raised Taiwan’s coronavirus alert level and tightened social distancing measures.
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The Level 3 alert was imposed islandwide, with entertainment venues, libraries, sports facilities and community centres closed. Taipei and the surrounding New Taipei had already been on the higher alert level.
People are required to wear masks all the time when going out. Indoor gatherings of more than five and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are banned.
A Level 4 alert would involve a lockdown with people only allowed to go out to buy necessities or medical treatment, all gatherings banned and schools shut down.
Chen on Wednesday said that was not being considered, but the mayor of New Taipei said his city was preparing for Level 4 restrictions and urged residents to do the same.
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